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Duncan: Teachers Should Be Judged on Student Performance

It has been said that Secretary Duncan was successful with implementation of merit pay in Chicago. However, I would like to ask the Secretary what it should be done with those students who simply don't want to be at school. Teachers and parents both know, the story of rebel teens who prefer to do another stuff that go to school and in the worse case scenario, youngsters who are not able to self-control or even be disciplined by parents themselves. Will this group of students hurt teachers merit pay? Absolutely.

During this week the AP ran a story about the controversial practice of linking raises or teacher's bonuses to student achievement. Of course, with the simple experience related on top, it is normal that Duncan's proposal be opposed by many teachers' union members. We do agree that test scores alone should not decide a teacher's salary, but other parameters as research and publication of books, should be also considered, to mention just two.

States and school districts will compete later this year for a piece of a $5 billion fund to reward those that adopt innovations the Obama administration supports. Applications will be available in July, and money should be awarded starting early next year.

In several districts around the country including Chicago, where Duncan ran the public schools, merit pay systems have been created with support from teachers' unions. Duncan aims to gain the support of teachers saying "he wants it done with teachers, not to teachers." Is this the rigor he is asking for?

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